October 04, 2018

“I never would have imagined that I would become so involved in so many different things at SFU,” declares graduand Danielle Thompson.

Her long list of extracurricular activities is indeed staggering.

In just four years at SFU she has completed a BSc in molecular biology and biochemistry and two co-op work terms at Vancouver General Hospital. She also served as a peer mentor to help new students transition to university life, worked as a teaching assistant, joined the MBB student union, and volunteered in a lab. Her work in the lab eventually led to a job leading science workshops for the Faculty of Science’s Science in Action program. At various times throughout her studies she also held part-time jobs and volunteered as a tutor for high school students in her community. That she completed a Certificate in Genomics in addition to carrying a full academic course load and balancing so many extracurricular activities begs the question, “How did she manage it all?”

Thompson says it’s all about being organized.

“It was not uncommon for me to be on campus 10 hours a day, or more during exams. So I had to be very good at managing my time.  I used a written agenda as well as my phone calendar to plan my time.”

“I found making a plan that broke down everything I had to do, and everything I wanted to do, made it feel manageable,” she adds.

Thompson tells new students that a university experience is what you make of it.

“It is your choice if you want to go to class and then straight home, or if you want to seek out opportunities.”

“But if you are like me,” she says, “you’ll want to get involved with as many things as you can. But sometimes you have to say 'no' in order to make time for yourself— and your school work— and that’s okay too."

The North Vancouver native is entering the British Columbia Institute of Technology’s diagnostic medical sonography program this fall. She hopes that her science background will complement her studies and further her goal of establishing a career in patient-centred health care.

Thompson says she will miss the many connections she made over the years and is grateful for her many experiences.

“I have grown a lot as a person, thanks to the many positions I was able to hold and the people who worked alongside me,” she says. “I think that is equally as important as the degree itself.”